Foundry Workshop: Overall Review- chime in now, students & instructors
After several weeks of down time, fielding emails, talking to staff/instructors and students, about this year’s event, etc its time to do a little housecleaning. Being our first year, we know we did some things great- and some things weren’t so great.Some of this was clearly our fault, and some of that which wasn’t so great was beyond our control- operating in a foreign environment, even when you arrive early and as prepared as you can, will throw some curveballs at you. So, Ill start with the goods and bads, and feel free to chime in students and instructors. The only thing I would ask is to KEEP IT CIVIL. Bitch all you want, but be nice about it.As one instructor, who will remain nameless, said “it was $500, and you got to go to Mexico City for a week with some great teachers and peers- what do you expect for $500 ?”
First off I will say we are making some fairly significant changes next year (expect to be in south Asia, end of July), based on student and staff feedback. The photo-j world can be very opinionated, even downright argumentative and derisive (as if LS’ers dont know that already!) and Ive gotten exact opposite feedback from instructors and students about various elements of the workshop. Since there is no way to make everyone happy, we will just try and stick to our original intentions and streamline and format from there.
a. created a great community
b. saw awesome work from teachers and most importantly students- this can be seen on the blog
c. one class got to try out M8s in the field
d. created an event for students and locals who otherwise would not have been able to afford such an event (this has been hotly debated, but since I know the financials, I can attest to it with numbers)- over 70% of locals attended on scholarship for reduced or free tuition.
e. students had great portfolio reviews from great teachers
f. student feedback, one on one time and instructor- student help was phenomenal. Some classes were too big and this made it difficult, but overall I think alot of folks got a lot of strong feedback and we able to push themselves in their work, no matter their level/
g. some people got work out of it
h. some people realized they dont want to this as a living but as a hobby- just as important a revelation IMO
i. alot of the mystique around photo-js- the cult of personality and fame- was dissipated and students met and befriended their idols as human beings, and saw their strenghthes, weaknesses and frailties-and made connections and friends in the industry
j. gave away alot of scarves
k. we provided ALOT of beer
l. mazing panel discussions, with much candor, wit and insight.
a. some classes were TOO big. We will have caps in future events.
b. ability levels were all over the map- this will be addressed with differing levels of classes in the future, that students will need to apply for /portfolio into, with direct contact between teacher & student before the workshop begins.
c. staffers came- this was an issue, since the workshop is really for students and locals (local staffers- we want them.) who cant afford more expensive workshops. Its not really designed for those already making their living as staffers on a paper. We cant be having people come for a cheap workshop when they could afford a more traditional one. That will kill us, and we will have protocols in future events to prevent that from occurring.
d. too much of a party atmosphere- this is debatable whether good or bad. some loved it some hated it. some want a more intimate and intense approach, some dont. so we are working to create a mix of both at next years event.
e. venue needs a/c- absolutely!!!
f. students didnt show up prepared to a. work and b. with story ideas, research, groundwork done- a passion for what they were doing. There are so many levels of seriousness, from casual to semi-pro, but we really need to have students show up at least a few days early, having prepped and ready to rock and roll. The instructor should be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage. Its the self driven students who you will see produced the most amazing work- those who took the ball and ran with it.
g. fixers- we had some awesome ones (Rodrigo – you are a god among men!) and some that werent. This is an expense we will pass on to students- fixers can be expensive, very necessary (they make it all happen), and students need to learn to work with them.
h. translators- this needs to be worked on; hopefully less of a issue in South Asia. Again students need to cover this cost for their story, and find their own/come prepared.
i. locals attending- we strived to get as many locals attending as possible. It was not easy- the school we were at did NOT announce/allow their students to attend as they thought ti would be too many people, though their staff did attend. This was a severe disappointment to me, and a fact I didnt know until I was told- 2 days before the workshop began. This was the point of having it at a school- to bring as many locals in as possible.
Again we scholarshipped about 17 locals, but next year Id like at least a 40% ratio of locals to non locals, if not more, as well as a 2 price system. We are working on this- it was very tough to get the word out. next year we’ll do better.
j. too may evening events- next year there will be 3 or 4 nights, not 6 or 7, with breathing room and working time in the evenings.
k. not enough people wore scarves enough. seriously. how can we expect to be taken seriously without being scarfed up all the time ?
i. never let Brazilians run your bar. No slam on Brazilians, but damn…
j need more intimate settings next year- smaller classes, more one on one.
ok let me have it…